Difficulty understanding speech with hearing aids

Answer this question: “Hearing aids make sound louder and may control letters in conversation that you don’t hear”. That said, hearing aids don’t correct all the symptoms making cognition virtually impossible.
In my case, I hear echoing off the walls of an open room, making cognition very difficult. Also, the voices I hear have a very high pitch to them,sort of like comic strip television. Even using my “TV ears”
, I hear voices that are high pitched, but cognition is better because the sound goes directly into my ears. I don’t wear HA when using audio hearing headphones. I have Oticon 3’s and have been told they are adjusted to what my hearing requires and nothing more can be done. I need help!

Sharing your audiogram would help. From your description I’m assuming you have a high frequency loss and waited quite sometime before getting hearing aids. 1) The voices sound high pitched because you haven’t heard high frequency sounds for a longtime. You need to give yourself time to adjust to this by wearing hearing aids on a daily basis. 2) Not sure what to make of the echo. A lot of hearing aids have settings that can minimize this. It’s also possible that it’s related to having open domes which let some sounds enter directly while others go through the hearing aid. 3) You may want to try another audiologist/hearing aid fitter.


I totally agree with MDB. We need to see your audiogram. I have been wearing aids for 15 years and have only had the echo with one set of aids, and it was due to open domes

MDB hit all the bases pretty good.
Hearing aid experience was my first thought.
The Oticon 3 aids are good aids. If tuned properly they should help given time to acclimate.
For the fitter to say they have done everything they could can mean a couple things. Curious to see how this thread plays out.

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Don’t give up hope. All of us are saying the same thing. I have worn hearing aids for many years and am pretty well adjusted to them. That said, there are times I need to take my aids out, rest my ears and be a little “deaf” for a while. My current audio is excellent and patient. Her expertise means more than the brand of hearing aid. Let me repeat the suggestion to post your audiogram. --Steve

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Thanks for your input. Actually this is my 3rd set of HA. I started with Costco’s best maybe 8 years ago. No problems at all with high pitch nor cognition. Then something went haywire and my Costco Audiologist, a 16 year veteran of audiology, said, " Try seeing an MD. (eye, ear, MD). I did. Bought Oticon #3 as recommended by a Dr. of Audiology, a smart woman. She wasn’t able to get rid of the high pitch, the echoing, nor the cognition factor. It just got worse. Very agrivating. It’s certainly not a “give myself time” it’s been almost 2 years. I just turned 79, and won’t give up looking for better cognition. I’ve lost 40% in L ear and 20% in R.
I’ll ask her about the open domes issue. I also tried another audiologist, to no better results. I’ll keep working on it. Appriciate the input.

Here’s a copy of my hearing tests:

Thanks for the help!

Your hearing loss isn’t too much different than my loss. If your Audi is tell your he cann’t do much better then you either need a new Audi, or you need to move up to the Oticon level 1 or 2 of the hearing aids. I wear Oticon OPN1 ITE aids and I have no issues, but I have been wear aids for 15 years. Also if you have the open domes that is not what your really need. With your hearing loss you need a more closed dome, or ear moulds. I am also hoping others will chime in here to help you.

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Thanks for sharing your audiogram.
What domes/molds are you using?

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The biggest thing I see is the low Speech Discrimination scores. With 52% and 20%, there are going to be problems understanding, especially in a more difficult listening situation. Hearing aids are wonderful devices but still can only work with what a person has left to work with.

Yes, the 55% @ 70 dB got my attention.
Is it possible for him to get speech understanding back with proper tuning and time?

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It sure as worked for me, I am doing so much better than I was with speech in my right ear. At one time my right ear was down to around 30% and my left was around 50%. I have worked hard with my Audi and also myself and I am doing better my left ear is up to 90% and my right is up to about 50%

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Possibly some may return and the echo can be helped at least with Phonak but probably other major brands as well with the higher technology level aids. It also may depend on whether the speech discrimination score was done live voice or recorded. A female live voice test could show much lower scores than a standard recorded voice. Some voices are just harder to understand.

Things sounding high pitched that he complains about: Are there are any other possibilities besides 1) He’s not used to hearing highs or 2) He’s not getting enough lows, possibly related to having too open of a fit?

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There could be a lot of speculation, but without seeing a speech mapping of what he is getting and what is needed, it is just speculation. Sometimes, small changes can have a huge effect. That is why I became almost evangelistic regarding Real Ear and Speech Mapping back in the late 1980’s. Not everyone responds the way they “should” with a specific hearing loss and hearing aid combination. The magic happens when the professional listens to the patient and adjusts from there.


posted my speech map

single # 8’s right now. Tried the doubles but they weren’t good for echoing. Unfortunately, still have the same issues. Helium balloon voices, echoing and terrible cognition.

That’s exactly what going on with me. Only been wearing aids for a week though. I was beginning to think it was me, my ears and not the aids but when I had the hearing test at ENT I could hear very well wearing the headset while listening to the instructions and did well on the WRS, she was saying the words herself and not the male recording. No helium sounding voice or cognition.

Have you noticed that when you have hearing tests?

For what it worth, your hearing loss in the low frequencies is in need of custom earmolds or at least double domes (power domes). This would improve all around performance of your hearing aids.
Good luck

Thanks Raudrive. I will keep this in mind and discuss with my AudiMD.

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